I got QTS ages ago, but have never done my induction year. Can I still apply for jobs as a NQT?

7th September 2013 at 01:00

I finished my PGCE and got QTS five years ago, but have never done my induction year.  Can I still apply for jobs as a NQT?


People who have never started their induction year, or started it with a fixed-term post so they completed one or two terms successfully but didn't manage to get another job to complete the year, often worry if they are going to be "timed out", if their QTS has a Sell-By date after which they can never go into teaching.  


This confusion is made worse by the Five Year Rule which applies to supply teaching in maintained schools. Let's look at an answer here.  


The answer will, I trust, reassure you all.


This blog is a joint effort between TheoGriff and John in Luton, who is a Teaching School Alliance Manager. His remit is co-ordinating all the outreach work within the group of schools, which includes recruiting and inducting NQTs, in addition to co-ordinating training programmes ranging from ITT, through the Improving Teacher Programme and Outstanding Teacher Programme, to all the leadership qualifications such as the new NPQML and NPQSL, for middle leaders and senior leaders.


He is obviously The Person Who Knows here.


And this is what he says:

The definitive answer is laid out in the DfE's 'Statutory Guidance on Induction for newly qualified teachers (England)' (a good cure for insomnia, if anyone needs one). Although it says 'guidance' in the title, this is in fact the rule book on induction, and I'm one of the poor devils that has to understand and apply it for the NQTs that I induct.


There is still some confusion about the five year period, but this only applies in the case of supply teaching.


What the rules say is this. There is no time limit on completing induction. Nice and simple. Whenever you trained, if you haven't completed induction you can still do so.


There is a time limit on doing supply teaching which does not count towards the induction period. This limit used to be 16 months, but is now five years from the date of QTS. What it means is, that for five years from the date when you were awarded QTS, you can do as much supply as you want, be it odd days, whole terms or whatever. So, if you were awarded QTS with effect from July 2012, you have until the end of the summer term 2017 when you are free to do casual supply.


In this example, where you were awarded QTS in July 2012, what it means is that from September 2017, if you have not already completed induction, you can not do any more casual supply. Casual supply means short term work - odd days, a couple of weeks here and there, etc. You can still work, but you can only accept contracts that count towards the induction period, so it would need to be for at least a term. So, permanent post, fine. Maternity cover for three months, fine. A one-day cover next week, sorry, can't do it.


Incidentally, you do not have to do the whole induction year in the same school, or even consecutively. You could, in theory, complete induction in this way: one term in School A autumn 2010, then a year or so on supply, join School B in spring 2012 and do another term, go off and do some more supply, then join School C in autumn 2013 and complete induction there at Christmas. An unlikely scenario, perhaps, but theoretically possible. You could also do one and a half terms in School A, and then one and a half in School B. But you have to be in the same school for at least a term for them to be able to assess you for induction, and for it to count towards your induction period.


So I have been browsing through that excellent reading that John suggested:  


Statutory guidance on induction for newly qualified teachers (England) 
For appropriate bodies, headteachers, school staff and governing bodies 
Revised June 2013


 Let's sort out the five-year rule for supply first of all.  Once you have qualified (assuming that you qualified after 31 August 2007), this is what it says:


A qualified teacher who gained QTS on or after 1 September 2007 who has not completed an induction period, can undertake short-term supply work of less than one term in a relevant school for a maximum period of 5 years from the point of award of QTS. This is a fixed time limit with no discretion to extend.


N.B.  "in a relevant school " So you could do supply in another school - Academy, Indy or Free - even after the 5 year period.  That's good news.


The interesting thing (for me, anyway) when reading all this is that if you fail the induction year, you are not eligible to work in maintained schools.  But they do not take QTS away from you, you are still a qualified teacher, just not entitled to work in the maintained sector. The National College merely "ensures that the names of NQTs who have failed induction are included on the list of persons who have failed satisfactorily to complete an induction period."


Is this daft or is this daft?


To sum up:


Beginning induction Once you hold QTS (from a PGCE or BEd course, for example, which awards QTS and gives you a Teacher Registration Number), you can wait as long as you wish or have to, to begin induction. This could be years and years, as long as you can find a Headteacher still willing to employ you after a long gap.


Completing induction  Once you have begun induction, if you pause (end of a fixed-term contract, ill health, forced to move to another part of the country, etc) you can wait as long as you wish or have to, to continue and complete induction. This could be years and years, as long as you can find a Headteacher still willing to employ you after a long gap.


What is a relevant school?  I quote again from the document, which defines a relevant school, and also lists other institutions where induction may take place.


Institutions in which induction may be served 
2.1 The Regulations specify that induction can be served in the following institutions:

1)  a relevant school in England – this includes: a maintained school; a maintained or non-maintained nursery school; a nursery school that forms part of a maintained school; a local authority maintained children’s centre; and a pupil referral unit (PRU)

2)  an independent school in England (including Academies; Free Schools; 16-19 Academies; alternative provision Academies; and city technology colleges) or independent nursery school subject to the circumstances set out in para 2.4

3) a further education (FE) institution including a sixth form college in the circumstances set out in para 2.3

4) an independent school overseas which: 
* has been inspected by a DfE accredited inspectorate within the last six years against the Standards for Inspection of British Schools Overseas; and 
* has met satisfactorily all of those standards/categories; and 
* is a member of an organisation which the DfE has determined may represent such schools

5) a school or FE institution in Wales in which an induction period may be served under Welsh regulations


Don't get your hopes up about category 4; there are very few of these indeed.  As a general rule, you are advised NOT to work in a British School Abroad until you have two years' teaching under your belt.

I hope that you are now reassured!

Best wishes